What are the best books of 2019? From New York Times bestsellers to the most popular new releases, I have you covered with all of this year’s must-read books.
Last November when we wrote about the best books of 2018, we were blown away by our list. Since we had just switched over to a book blog, we hadn’t had time to read too many new releases and had never received an advanced review copy of any books. Scouring through the bestseller lists, our own reading, and recommendations from other bloggers, there were so many books that sounded amazing. How could we tell which ones were the best books of the year?
Relying on our research and our knack for picking books, we were able to put together a great list. Yet, we knew we could have done better. This year, we committed early to reading as many popular 2019 book releases as we could. We joined a professional reviewers site, requested books from publishers, placed holds on library books as early as possible, and purchased new releases we just had to read right away.
Thus far, our strategy has worked. For our research into the best books of 2019, we’ve read fifty-four 2019 book releases so far!
Of course, finishing your TBR is like fighting the Hydra. For every book we take off our to-read list, two more always seem to magically appear in its place. If you are searching for the best books of 2019 so far, here are our picks. We’ve got 15 that have garnered our personal stamp of approval as the best books of 2019.
But wait … there’s more! Additionally, we’ll give you a look a peek at which books on our TBR we think have a great chance of making it onto the final list. Plus, we’ve listed some the top picks from Amazon and The New York Times. Enough talk! Let’s get to the best books of 2019.
My Favorite 2019 Book Releases
I think we’ve found the frontrunner for best book of the year. Already snapped up by Reese Witherspoon’s company to become an Amazon miniseries, Daisy Jones and the Six is making waves this year. After her highly successful novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid is back with an addictingly fun read about the rise and fall of a fictional 70s band. With sex, drugs, and plenty of drama, you’ll feel like watching a biopic on VH1 – but one that is extremely well-written. Selected by Book of the Month club for March, Daisy Jones and the Six will quite possibly be the best book of the entire year. Read more →
Sally Hepworth’s new book release deserves all the stars and easily won its place in the best books of 2019. The first time Lucy met Diana, she is disappointed to find her future mother-in-law is cold and distant. Not at all the best friend and replacement mother Lucy was hoping to find. Now ten years later, Diana is dead, and all eyes automatically turn to Lucy. Much more of a character study than a murder mystery, The Mother-in-Law shines by highlighting how two different people can view the same event differently and by navigating the history of a complicated relationship. Read more →
Just listen to this premise: NYPD cops Francis and Brian happen to move next door to each other in the suburbs. Though their children Kate and Peter become the best of friends, Francis and his wife have learned to keep their distance from Brian’s wife due to her precarious mental health. When tragedy strikes between the two families, Brian’s family moves away in shame. But when Kate and Peter fall in love, the two families must learn to confront the tragedy that ties them together. A story of love and forgiveness, Ask Again, Yes serves up the perfect blend of family drama and character study to win it all the stars. Read more →
Eleven year old Ren is given one final task when his master dies: to find his master’s severed finger and return it, in the next 49 days, or his master’s soul will be doomed to wander the earth. From there, his story will mingle with dance hall girl Ji Lin who has found the finger, all while a tiger stalks the town. Mixing Chinese folklore and superstition with historical fiction, Choo brings the time period to life in this beautifully written and imaginative story. You’ll feel completely swept away into the slight mysticism of the story, and I hardily agree with Amazon that this is one of the best books of 2019. Read more →
If you’ve heard great things about Jane Harper’s novel The Dry, you really want to check out her newest novel. Way out in the Australia outback, brothers Nathan and Bub Bright find the body of their brother Cameron on the edge of their ranch. Did Cam end his own life walking out into the desert or did someone end it for him? More a character study than a murder mystery, The Lost Man looks at the secrets a family keeps combined with a fascinating portrayal of life in the outback. Read more →
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Best Books of 2019 From My Reading List
Yara Zgheib hits the emotions hard in her debut novel. Professional dancer Anna Roux is plagued with uncertainties. In attempt to take control, she starts controlling her eating and eventually weighs only 88 pounds. Admitted to a treatment facility for her anorexia, Anna meets other brave women fighting their own battles with eating disorders. Once you get past the formatting (short disjointed paragraphs and heavy use of italics indicating thoughts and dialogue), the raw emotion of the story, draws you in as you see into Anna’s thoughts as she struggles with her disease. A great reminder of the power of mental illness and the awful toll anorexia takes on the body. Read more →
On the island of Jeju just off the Korean peninsula, lives a society where women are the breadwinners – sea divers risking untold hazards to provide for their families from the ocean. Among them are best friends Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls just entering their village’s diving collective. Telling the account of their lives from the Japanese occupation in the 1930s, through World War II and the tumultuous aftermath up to the present, Lisa See’s latest historical fiction novel is a beautifully written account. If you love reading historical fiction about different cultures, this is one of the best books of 2019 that you don’t want to miss. Read more →
Following three generations of Palestinian women, Rum’s powerful story highlights the dangers of beliefs that view women as inferior. The tale begins with the arranged marriage of Isra, forced to move to America where she knows no one. Years later, Isra’s daughter Deya herself faces an arranged marriage in Brooklyn. This raw account of the oppression of women in an extremely strict family is depressing and at the same time beautifully written. Certainly worth a read, and easily one of the best new books to read now. Read more →
After hitting it big with her debut novel, The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas returns to the best books of the year list with a homage to hip hop. In On the Come Up, 16-year-old Bri wants to become a famous rapper – more so now than ever as she watches her mom struggle to pay the bills. Although not quite as strong as The Hate U Give, Thomas pens another bestseller speaking about what it’s like to be a black teenager in America. Read more →
Among the best books in 2019 would have to be The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in this One. Two-time Goodreads Choice Awards winner in poetry Amanda Lovelace is back with the 3rd entry into her Women Are Some Kind of Magic series. I rarely read poetry, so I struggled at first with the eccentric format of this collection. Nevertheless, I came to love her unconventional method. Considering how few words she actually uses, I’m amazed at the depth of feeling Lovelace is able to convey about the highs and lows, doubts and fears of sexual assault. I hope her collection does indeed help other women find their voices. Read more →
I almost feel like the subtitle says it all: “Southern lady code – a technique by which, if you don’t have something nice to say, you say something not so nice in a nice way.” In her hilarious collection of essays, Helen Ellis takes you from Alabama to New York with her witty look at her life, all from a Southern girl’s perspective. If you have any connection to the South, you’ll find her humor brilliant. Read more →
The sequel to last year’s hit The Cruel Prince picks up with Jude behind the scenes running the Faerie Kingdom. The plot-driven writing style just begs to be devoured in one sitting, and I have to say, I actually enjoyed it even more than the first book. And that ending! If you love YA fantasy, be sure to pick up this hottest of new book releases. It’s definitely earned it’s place at the top of the best books in 2019 for young adults. Read more →
If you have an insane amount of money (say from creating Microsoft) how do you use it to change the world? Over a lifetime, Melinda Gates, co-founder of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has discovered that the key to alleviating poverty, decreasing childhood death and even increasing food production all comes back to empowering women. The statistics throughout the book are staggering, and Gates makes a strong argument for how empowering women affects so much more than you would think. Luckily Gates focuses in on the numbers and less on the memoir aspect because, while Gates is an admirable woman, her own story is … shall I say … kinda dull. Read more →
In a small Virginia town, Korean immigrants Young and Pak Yoo run a medical center with a hyperbaric chamber called the Miracle Submarine – a pressurized oxygen chamber patients can use to treat illnesses like decompression sickness, but that many use in an attempt to treat such conditions as autism and MS. When a fire causes the chamber explodes, killing two, an intense murder trial begins revealing secrets and lies from all involved. Read more →
Taking a break from my typical women’s fiction picks, among the best books of 2019 is Black Crouch’s new science fiction thriller which is getting plenty of buzz recently. America has fallen victim to False Memory Syndrome – where victims are driven mad by memories of a life they never lived … or did they? It’s up to NYPD cop Barry Sutton and neuroscientist Helena Smith to figure out how to stop this epidemic, even as reality is shifting all around them. You’ll have a hard time putting this one down, so you’ll certainly want to pick up a copy before the film adaptation hits Netflix. Read more →
2019 Releases I Can’t Wait To Read
Probably one of our most anticipated 2019 book releases is this intriguing take on a memoir; a collection essays from the acclaimed essayist Mary Laura Philpott. What do you do when you’ve successfully go it all – marriage, children, house and career – and still don’t feel happy? No, you don’t necessarily have to make a dramatic change in your circumstances. With her keen observations on modern adult life, Philpott decides to re-imagine what happiness really means to her. Read more →
Best known for his Natchez Burning trilogy, Greg Iles is back with a stand alone thriller that spent 5 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. At 18, Marshall McEwan left his small Mississippi hometown vowing never to return. Yet, since his father is dying, he forced to come home once more, now as a well-known DC journalist. Back in Mississippi, he find the town run by the old boys network of the Bienville Poker Club. When two murders shock the locals, Marshall can’t stop himself from digging out a secret that will reverberate all the way back to Washington, D.C. We’ve been burned by New York Times bestsellers before, but we have high hopes that Cemetery Road could be one of the best books of 2019. Read more →
Jennifer Robson’s latest book release was recommended to us by a fellow book blogger, but sadly we can’t remember which one. In The Gown, Robson takes a peek behind the scenes at the women involved in making Queen Elizabeth’s famous wedding dress. I love historical fiction novels because I always have so much fun researching fact from fiction. If you are a fan of royal weddings, be sure to try out this new book. Read more →
Every single David McCullough book I’ve ever read has been out-of-the-park incredible, so I was giddy with joy to discover him among the 2019 book releases. After covering such historical figures as Truman, John Adams and The Wright Brothers, McCullough decided to chronicle the lives of rarely heard of settlers in the Ohio Valley. Among the pioneers willing to brave the newly opened Northwest Territory spanning from present day Ohio to Wisconsin, Manasseh Cutter and General Rufus Putnam feel lured forth by the promise of freedom of religion, universal free education and the prohibition of slavery. McCullough’s unique voice always makes history come alive, so I’m thrilled to hear his treatment on the settlement of our home state. Read more →
Amazon’s Best Books of 2019
Following her 2018 bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis is back with a followup Girl, Stop Apologizing. While Girl, Wash Your Face was aimed at reminding women not to hold themselves back, her latest book release is more geared toward achieving goals. The weakest part of the book is the beginning where Hollis lists excuses that hold you back – I don’t have time, good girls don’t hustle, etc. This section feels like a lesser copy of her previous book. The book finds its stride in the second half when Hollis describes specific behaviors and skills you need to achieve your goals. If you approach the book with a specific goal in mind, you have a much better chance of enjoying this one. Overall, I would say this book is not as good as Girl, Wash Your Face, and probably only worth 3 stars. Read more →
One ordinary day, 2-year-old Greta Greene is sitting with her grandma on a park bench when the unimaginable happens. A loose brick falls from the windowsill above her head, striking her unconscious and leading to her death. Jayson Greene’s emotional memoir tells of the anguish he and his wife experience during this horrible tragedy. Yet, even in the midst of such agony, Greene recognizes that this will not be the end. A story of finding hope and the power of love, Greene’s memoir was named among the best books of 2019 by Amazon. Read more →
In this hit romantic comedy, the ever unlucky Olive seems to have finally stumbled into some good luck. At her twin sister’s wedding, all the guests end up with severe food poisoning, that is except for Olive and the best man Ethan. Since there’s an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii just waiting to be used, Olive decided to swallow her extreme dislike for Ethan and go with him. But when they run into Olive’s future boss, Olive’s plan to avoid Ethan runs amok as she is forced to pretend they are newlyweds. An enemies turned lovers romance that Amazon, as well as much of the book world, has declared one of the best books of 2019. Read more →
Well known restaurant critic and food writer Ruth Reichl’s latest memoir tells of her years as editor in chief of the magazine Gourmet. When first offered the position, Reichl had declined, worried about lacking the ability to manage and losing herself into a corporate world. Instead, Reichl reinvented a struggling magazine into a trendsetter, extending its life span – though not able to save it in the era of online media. Sarah from Sarah’s Bookshelves gave it a glowing review, and that’s all I need to know to list it among the best books of 2019 so far. Read more →
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New York Times Bestsellers
Irish millennial Sally Rooney is back with certainly one of the most anticipated 2019 books among critics with her 2nd novel in the new adult genre. Exploring the relationship between two people – Marianne, whose family has taught her she doesn’t deserve love, and Connell, who is too concerned with what other people think – Rooney gives an insightful look at the connection between two people, sometimes positive and sometimes negative. A solid entry into the new adult genre, it delivers plenty of food for thought. Be warned, the romance gets a tad graphic. Also, I spent a chunk of the book wanting to smack the characters in the back of the head for the choices they continued to make. Read more →
Among the February 2019 book releases was Alex Michaelides’ debut psychological thriller. One night, famous painter Alicia Berenson shoots her husband in the face 5 times, and then never utters another word again. Now criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to get the truth from this silent patient while his own life is falling apart. I was hoping this thriller would be one of those gripping books that keep you up all night. Overall, I struggled connecting with this thriller, maybe because I really disliked Theo’s character. Despite that, the twist at the end was extremely well done, and I can see why this book got lots of attention this year. Read more →
From the author of the bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love comes one of the hottest 2019 book releases. In 1940, Vivian Morris has just been expelled after only 1 year at Vassar. Frustrated, her parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, the owner of a struggling small theater. There Vivian dives into a world of sexuality and promiscuity where one mistakes creates a scandal that follows her for years. Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the most talked about artists right now, so we are curious to see if her new book lives up to the best books of 2019. Read more →
When asked what inspired her famous work, The Love Poem. renowned poet Fiona Skinner tells the story of her family. After her father’s sudden death, Fiona’s mother goes into a deep depression for three years, basically leaving the young children to fend for themselves. The four Skinner siblings’ lives forever changed during this period which they refer to as “The Pause.” They emerge closer than ever, but that period of time changes each one of them, with consequences following them throughout the rest of their lives. A solid piece of literary fiction, I felt just missed the mark of being great, though The New York Times bestseller list seems to disagree. Read more →
Jennifer Weiner’s sweeping novel follows the lives of two sisters as they struggle to find their own way in the world. Bethie becomes a free-spirited nomad while Jo settles into the the role of a traditional American housewife. Despite their differences, each sister is searching for happiness in this ever-changing world. The world needs more stories of women becoming who they are meant to be, so this novel would be a great book to read this summer. Thus far the reviews are looking great, and we anticipate great things from this June 2019 book release. Read more →
What do you think are the best books of 2019?